The REVEAL survey results (both for our church and for all churches) have been humbling for many a pastor, including me. I just read a post from one of my favorite pastor bloggers that repeats a fallacy I had bought into and REVEAL debunks. It goes something like this: "We don't need information, we need transformation." Or like this: "We already have enough information. We need to start applying it." Another variation: "We are educated beyond our ability to be obedient."
Here's what REVEAL shows:
- Newer or more immature believers need more information than they are getting. Bible doctrine (basic foundational teachings of the Bible on topics like grace and the Trinity) is the most significant catalysts for spiritual growth for newer or more immature believers. The "we" in the statements above assumes way too much. Our churches (including Five Oaks) are filled with people who lack basic foundational doctrines and biblical knowledge.
- Spiritual guidance and challenge from the Bible is a primary need for spiritual growth and vitality across the spectrum of spiritual maturity. And not just in the form of more application of what people already know. More biblical knowledge is essential.
REVEAL does, however, confirm what I believe is the intent of those of us who have been promoting this fallacy for years: Serving others and spending yourself for Christ is an even bigger spiritual catalyst for the more mature believer. This is, of course, a case of both/and. The most mature need both more Bible knowledge and more devotion to service. I've seen too many information bloated, Dead Sea Christians (lots pouring in and no outlet leading to no plant life). But it seems they are a minority. It seems I'm surrounded by a lot more information starved, wasteland believers in the church than I would have imagined.
Chances are that if you've read this to the end you're likely on the mature side of the spiritual growth spectrum. So, are you spending yourself for Christ, serving him with your spiritual gifts in the church and with compassionate kingdom living outside of the church? And are you helping mentor and teach younger believers the great truths of the Bible and encouraging them to feed themselves every day on God's Word?